I am grateful to Stephen Glover in the Independent for drawing my attention to these words written by Auberon Waugh in the 1970s in defence of the Daily Mail gossip columnist Nigel Dempster.
"It is one of the oldest pastimes of the poor and unprivileged to gossip about the rich and powerful ... [and] I would have thought it a small price to pay for being rich, or beautiful, or exceptionally talented, or even famous. If, as a famous person, you are in the habit of doing things which would make you ashamed if they were more widely known, then you have a clear choice between changing your habits, changing your attitude to them or retreating from the public stage. The other course of action is to cross your fingers and hope Nigel Dempster never finds out, but I do not think it reasonable to expect the entire structure of a free press to be dismantled in order to accommodate your foibles."
Perhaps Lord Justice Leveson will consider the evidence offered by Hugh Grant, Steve Coogan and J.K. Rowling in this sensible, but unsentimental light. I think he should.